According to Scientists, The Electrolysis Process separates hydrogen and oxygen from water to generate electricity in a efficient way. Right now, the companies involved in green hydrogen production use ‘Perfluorinated Sulfonic Acid Polymer Membrane’ which is available in the market with the brand name ‘Nafion‘. It is marketed and sold by a Japanese company. Most of the companies importing this membrane for their purposes.
When we talk about “Green Hydrogen” – Green hydrogen has been identified as a promising source of energy that could replace fossil fuels in various applications and devices, such as transportation, heating, and industrial processes. But, the high cost associated with green hydrogen production has been a major challenge from many years since its inception. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production is through the development of new membrane technology. In this blog, we will explore the new membrane technology that could reduce the cost of green hydrogen production. But, first let’s talk about What Membrane Technology actually is?
What is Membrane Technology?
Membrane Technology is a process used to separate molecules based on their size and chemical properties. When we talk about this in context of green hydrogen production, membranes can be used to separate hydrogen from other gases, such as carbon dioxide, in a process called Gas Separation. Currently, most gas separation membranes are made of expensive materials, such as polymers and ceramics, that require complex and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. But with the new membrane technologies based on cheaper materials, such as Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), are being developed recently, shows promise for reducing the cost of green hydrogen production providing a leap forward in this field.
New Membrane Technology:
Recent research has shown that it is possible to create gas separation membranes using cheaper materials, such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFs are porous materials made of metal ions linked by organic molecules. They have a high surface area and tunable pore sizes, which make them ideal for gas separation applications. Moreover, MOFs can be synthesized using simple and cost-effective methods, such as solvothermal synthesis, which involves mixing metal salts and organic ligands in a solvent at high temperatures.
Recently a path-breaking invention is being claimed by the Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) stating they have developed a membrane technology that is expected to drastically reduce the production cost of green hydrogen, supposed to be the future green fuel.
CSMCRI has secured an international patent for the new membrane and transferred the technology to a company in Gujarat.
Honeywell on the same lines announced on 2nd-March-2023, that they have developed new Catalyst-Coated Membrane (CCMs) Technology for Green Hydrogen Fuel production. They said, will further test the technology with electrolyzer manufacturers.
Applications of New Membrane Technology:
Several research groups and companies have demonstrated the potential of MOFs as gas separation membranes for green hydrogen production as a fuel. CSMCRI and Honeywell are the latest in developing New Membrane Technologies such as CCMs and others which further helps in reducing the cost.
Apart from these, a team of researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge has developed a MOF membrane that can selectively separate hydrogen from carbon dioxide with high efficiency, stability and lesser cost. This membrane is made up of a MOF called ZIF-8 and was produced using a simple and scalable synthesis method.
Another research group from the University of Texas at Austin has developed a MOF membrane that can separate hydrogen from nitrogen and methane with high selectivity and permeance. The membrane was made of a MOF called ZIF-94 and was produced using a facile and scalable electrochemical synthesis method.
According to the sources, this new membrane technology would help in reducing the cost by almost half, which further allows use & acceptance of the fuel more generally and publicly, which in-turn helps in reducing the cost of transportation and industries.
Benefits of New Membrane Technology:
The development of new membrane technology based on CCMs and MOFs has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of green hydrogen production by enabling more efficient and cost-effective gas separation process. By using CCMs and MOFs, gas separation membranes can be produced using less energy and at a lower cost, which could make green hydrogen fuel production more economically viable and environment friendly.
The development of new membrane technologies based on MOFs and CCMs are a promising avenue for reducing the cost of green hydrogen production. While further research is needed to optimize the synthesis and performance of MOF and CCM membranes, the potential benefits of this technologies are significant. With the growing demand for lesser pollution and sustainable energy solutions, the development of new membrane technology could play a critical role in advancing the widespread adoption of green hydrogen.